Chasing the Norm

Australian academic and blogger on politics, international relations, and culture

Tag: Sex

Devines Delusional

Miranda Devine writing on the Matthew Johns Sex Scandal

It would be a rare woman who would willingly consent to such an experience, without being damaged in some way, with low self-esteem or imperfect understanding of what was happening.

Yet to state this fact is to be condemned as moralising and prudish and out of touch with modern mores. As outrage about continuing rugby league sex scandals grows, it is not just the behaviour of a few predatory players being condemned, but the uber-masculinity such contact sports represent.

You have to be impressed by a commentator who contradicts herself with her very next sentence. If “modern mores” condone such behaviour why would “outrage” be growing ?

That said, the only way Devine could write such a sentence about the supposed community acceptance of Johns behaviour would be if she failed to notice this story, this story, this story, this story, plus this one, and more and more and more.

When leading a moral crusade against legal and consenting behavior (as the police determined at the time) it’s probably best not to straight out lie to your readers. Why Devine wants to pretend she’s in the minority I have no idea. I guess given the woman involved hasn’t gone public Devine probably thought she could play victim on societies behalf.Trying to hold back the dam against the lake of sin that threatens to flood forth…

Then again maybe she’s just confused. Devine begins her piece calling for Johns head:

It serves Matthew Johns right that he was dumped yesterday from The Footy Show over a group sex session with former Cronulla Sharks teammates in New Zealand seven years ago.

And ends by sympathising with Johns and blaming the woman at the center of all this:

It also reflects the postmodern expectation of men that they exercise the tortured superhuman restraint of an Edward, or be branded a barbarian.
There is no understanding that female sexual attitudes have always been the most successful regulator of male sexuality

Cognitive dissonance much ? Again the case needs to be made: How bad can the SMH regular commentators get? Fire the lot of them if you want people to start reading the paper again.

My own view for what its worth – Going on all information that the act was legal and consenting (from police investigations at the time) I see no reason why this should be a public issue. It’s not just John’s minor role in Australian society as a former NRL player and now football commentator, but even if it was The PM and the Health minister engaged in such practices, it would still be none of the public’s business. If the public wants such acts made illegal, thats fine. But 3 day witch hunts over legal acts that occured 7 years ago are more about mob behaviour and voyeurism than any claim to moral concern. Especially when their leading voices like Devine feel the need to lie to enhance their case.

First do no harm

This is a welcome rebuff to the recent spouting’s of pure ignorance by the Pope, and echoed by Australia’s own Bishop Pell

The East-West Centre in Hawaii has estimated that if condom use had not been widely promoted and adopted, today 8 million Thais would be infected rather than the 550,000 now living with the virus. That’s more than 7 million lives saved. And have these condoms encouraged promiscuity? Five years into the campaign, in 1997, only 12 per cent of Thai military conscripts reported visiting a sex worker, down from 60 per cent five years earlier.

Similar success stories can be found in Cambodia, India, and Brazil where rates of HIV infection have steadily declined as a result of education about HIV, safer sex and the provision of condoms. In the West African nation of Senegal, the government began promoting condoms in the late 1980s and this has helped to keep HIV prevalence below 1 per cent to this day.

The rest of the story is filled with many more stats & examples.

I’m normally not one who buys the line that there’s a divide between religion and science. I think it’s too artificial, too simplistic and cuts out too many interesting discussions. Questions such as abortion can not be properly answered without both science and religion (or a deliberately secular ethics system in place of).
But given the influence that men such as Pope Benedict XVI and Bishop George Pell have, they ought to be vigorously engaged when they make claims that are simply false, and likely to encourage dangerous behavior.

Personally I don’t really understand the church’s objection to contraceptives. They arn’t mentioned in the holy texts (for obvious reasons), the knowledge & use of doesn’t change teenage promiscuity rates (if anything it makes it riskier), and most critically, contraceptives prevent the creation of a human life, which all major faiths hold starts at conception, and not possibly before hand. (Not to mention that 13% of female deaths during pregnancy are caused by abortions(67’000 women & 20 million abortions), with the legality and religion of the country having little effect)

In Uganda, where abortion is illegal and sex education programs focus only on abstinence, the estimated abortion rate was 54 per 1,000 women in 2003, more than twice the rate in the United States, 21 per 1,000 in that year. The lowest rate, 12 per 1,000, was in Western Europe, with legal abortion and widely available contraception.

So already living human beings will be safer, healthier, no morally worse, and alive, and far far less unborn humans will be brought into existence only to be later destroyed. If in any way your moral system has to do with the actual lives and well being of people as they are here and now then contraceptives are a no-brainer.
Anything less is not a moral system, but mere political doctrine for human behavior, dressed up as being ethically motivated.

It’s for reasons like this that I suggested a little while ago, that as a basis for a new left wing political philosophy, it had to begin with an acceptance of human nature as a constant. I deliberately didn’t link this to a utilitarian moral system, but anyone familiar with the philosophy would have seen it’s imprint on my words.

So let us talk religion and science, let us educate & inform children about religion and it’s possibilities and wonders, lets encourage those of faith to participate in the public debate and discussion, and let us then remind them of the responsibility they have to be honest and place a care for human well being ahead of their own prejudice and impulses. A hippocratic oath for religious leaders: First do no harm.

So good to see the papers running such a story, but it really should have appeared several days before. It’s no exaggeration to say lives depend upon it…